For Immediate Release
July 09, 2012
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Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) Director Evelyn Friedman today announced that Privy, a Boston-based start-up and MassChallenge finalist located in the Innovation District, is the winner of the City’s Boston Main Streets Social Media Challenge. Privy provides an online tool that lets businesses convert social media users into measurable in-store sales. The announcement took place at Stone Hearth Pizza, a current Privy client in the Boston’s Allston neighborhood.
“I am proud that our Social Media on Main Streets Initiative is providing Boston’s small businesses with new tools to help them compete in today’s economy and connect with neighborhood shoppers,” Mayor Menino said. “We are excited to announce Privy as the winner of the Social Media Challenge and to help our neighborhood businesses leverage online tools to increase sales. This new initiative is an example of how collaboration and innovation can benefit Boston’s small businesses.”
The Social Media Challenge was the first in a series of challenges launched by the City’s Office of Business Development. These challenges are designed to address specific needs for small businesses in Boston’s Main Streets districts and other neighborhood business districts throughout Boston. This challenge was developed as part of the Boston Main Streets program’s Social Media on Main Streets Initiative after many neighborhood businesses expressed interest in exploring ways to increase revenue through social media channels.
With Privy, businesses can launch and track promotions from their own website, social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, and email databases to boost conversion rates, increase customer loyalty, and optimize both over time. Consumers then purchase the deals online and redeem the offerings in-store using their mobile device or printed coupon. Businesses only have to pay when a customer makes a purchase, which allows small businesses to do marketing without the risky up-front costs of traditional advertising.
“Our platform for helping small businesses get the most out of social media was a perfect fit for the Social Media Challenge.” said Privy Founder and CEO Ben Jabbawy. “We are thrilled to have won the Challenge and are excited to ramp up our efforts to help Boston Main Streets and the thousands of neighborhood businesses throughout Boston create online communities and customers.”
Selected from eight finalists, Boston-based Privy will receive a $10,000 prize. The prize comes from a grant from the MacArthur Foundation through their funding of the New Urban Mechanics initiative, which is a collaboration between Emerson College and the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.
The Challenge was launched in partnership with another local business, Startup BLVD, which provided assistance shaping and managing the process. In order to help identify innovative partners that could assist business in leveraging social media, The Office of Business Development and its Boston Main Streets program launched the Challenge in January. Using the on-line Startup BLVD platform, Boston’s innovation community posted business proposals to address a specific, key need: helping Boston’s Main Streets businesses convert social media users into measurable in-store sales. Over 60 applicants participated in challenge.